OYSTER SEASON TO CLOSE IN BAY GARDENE

Release Date: 03/06/2006

The 2005-06 oyster season will close in the Bay Gardene public oyster seed reservation at one-half hour after sunset on March 8, 2006. 


A description of that portion of the public grounds in Bay Gardene to be closed is as follows:


Beginning at the western end of Bayou Lost at 29 degrees 36 minutes 03.9 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 37 minutes 49.9 seconds west longitude; thence in an easterly direction along the northern shoreline of Bayou Lost to a point on the western shoreline of Black Bay at 29 degrees 36 minutes 00.8 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 36 minutes 58.7 seconds west longitude; thence southeasterly to the eastern most point of an island on the western shoreline of Black Bay at latitude 29 degrees 35 minutes 49.2 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 36 minutes 30.7 seconds west longitude; thence southeasterly to the most southern point of an island on the northern shoreline of Bay Crabe at 29 degrees 34 minutes 56.5 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 36 minutes 06.5 seconds west longitude; thence southwesterly to the most eastern point of an island on the southern shore of Bay Gardene at 29 degrees 34 minutes 19.7 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 37 minutes 17.3 seconds west longitude; thence southwesterly to the most western point of an island on the southern shoreline of Triple Pass at 29 degrees 33 minutes 56.3 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 38 minutes 42.5 seconds west longitude; thence northerly across Triple Pass to the southern most point of an island on the northern shoreline of Triple Pass at 29 degrees 34 minutes 15.8 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 38 minutes 42.7 seconds west longitude; thence northwesterly to the northern most part of an island on the western shoreline of Bay Gardene at 29 degrees 35 minutes 12.9 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 39 minutes 04.6 seconds west longitude; thence northeasterly to a point on the northern shoreline of Bay Gardene at 29 degrees 35 minutes 45.6 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 38 minutes 15.0 seconds west longitude; thence easterly to the most eastern point of an island on the northern shoreline of Bay Gardene at 29 degrees 35 minutes 47.5 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 37 minutes 44.2 seconds west longitude; thence northerly back to the point of beginning at 29 degrees 36 minutes 03.9 seconds north latitude and 89 degrees 37 minutes 49.9 seconds west longitude.


The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission authorized Dwight Landreneau, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to take emergency action as necessary to close areas if oyster mortalities are occurring or to delay the season or close areas where significant spat catch has occurred with good probability of survival, or where it is found that there are excessive amounts of non-living reef material in seed oyster loads, or if oyster resources and/or reefs are being adversely impacted, or if enforcement problems are encountered.
     
LDWF marine fisheries biologists have documented increases in fishing effort levels and harvest rates in comparison with recent years.  Recent declines in annual stock size and evidence of excessive amounts of non-living reef material onboard vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes is occurring within this area, and this public oyster seed reservation is being closed to protect the remaining oyster resource.
     
Based on boarding report surveys of oyster boats through Feb. 26, 2006 LDWF biologists have estimated that 15,805 barrels of seed oysters and 20,672 sacks of marketable oysters have been harvested from the Bay Gardene oyster seed reservation since its opening on Dec. 12, 2005. 


The primary public oyster seed ground located east of the Mississippi River as described in LAC 76:VII.511, including the sacking only area of the public ground which is generally Lake Fortuna and Lake Machias to a line from Mozambique Point to Point Gardner to Grace Point at the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Lake Borgne public oyster seed ground as described in LAC 76:VII 513 and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay public oyster seed grounds as described in LAC 76:507 and 509 will close one-half hour after sunset April 1, 2006 unless it is determined that there are excessive amounts of non-living reef material in seed oyster loads, or if oyster resources and/or reefs are being adversely impacted, or if enforcement problems are encountered.  The Commission at its Aug. 4, 2005 meeting set April 1, 2006 as the last day of the season in these areas and this action reaffirms that closing date.  The Calcasieu Lake public oyster area as described in LA R.S.56:435.1 and LA R.S.56:435.1.1 will close to harvest on April 30, 2006. 


EDITORS: For more information, please contact Martin Bourgeois at 225-765-2401 mbourgeois@wlf.louisiana.gov.